While the rest of the Island is focussed on golf, others are planning, fulfilling dreams and proving the theory of ‘build it and they will come’.
One such operator is Ian Johnson, whose impact on the Island since he first came here in 1975 has carved an indelible impact on the rock.
Ian Johnson and business partner Lucinda Dengerink’s Wild Harvest restaurant and cookery school opened this week.
Already making an award winning impact on the local tourism industry with their King Island Holiday Village and four wheel drive tours, Wild Harvest is a classy addition; a restaurant aimed at uniquely King Island ‘paddock to plate’ cuisine.
Designed with a large state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, Wild Harvest is designed to cater for both a dining delight and a cooking school.
“We want to cater for groups who gather the wild harvest King Island has to offer and learn from our chef, local gourmands or visiting chefs, how to prepare and serve a wide variety of food” explained Ian.
Front of house lights up with the welcoming smile of Amalia Tambling. whose seamless service is effortlessly professional.
“We are proud to have chef Marcus McKay and third year apprentice chef Thomas Seccombe at Wild Harvest; their enthusiasm for food and developing signature dishes is reflected in our first menu, where for example, one of their creations is tempura Sea Elephant oysters with onion weed capers, foraged cress with walnut creme,” said Ian.
The first thing you see at 4 Bluegum Drive, Grassy is Wild Harvest’s expansive view of Grassy Harbour and surrounding verandah. Inside, with a mix of old and new, the walls are dressed in weathered timber slates from a soldier settlement woolshed, with exposed beams framing the rusty corrugated iron ceiling. It’s elegant, simple, raw and rustic.
Taking pride of place in the dining room is a hefty slab of macrocarpa, finished to a refined shine, asking for large groups to take a seat and enjoy the harvest of King Island.
Standing sentinel to the table is a majestic open fireplace, hued from local stone, radiating a welcoming heat into the dining room.
The well stocked bar and cellar offer the most astute diner an enviable choice of wines.
A refined menu encompasses island ingredients with an elegant array of stylish scrumptiousness, introducing fabulous tastes liked cured wallaby fillet carpaccio and crish duck maryland with rosemary rosti and blackcurrant glaze.
Ian and Lucinda have created a welcome and glorious addition to King Island dining and are already well underway with plans to extend WIld Harvest with food production services.
Article first published, Wednesday November 4 2015, King Island Courier